• May
  • 8 Steps to Becoming a Better Boss

    If you are supervising employees or contemplating adding employees to your staff, your success will be measured by how your employees feel about you.

    Studies show that having a good boss is more important than other work factors, including income earned. Almost half of those who report their bosses are inferior are more likely to leave their current position.

    Most bosses don’t wake up in the morning with an intention to treat their employees poorly. The gap lies between intention and delivery. Many bosses haven’t been trained in the skills required to build productive, empowering relationships with their employees.

    The best bosses:

    Recognize effort and don’t expect perfection. They use mistakes and failures as learning opportunities rather than a cause to belittle and/or embarrass.

    Are positive rather than negative. To improve relationships, some experts recommend a 5-1 ratio of positive to negative comments. Become aware of your positive comments to ensure you’re...

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  • What Makes an Effective Leader?

    To answer this question, Dr. Sunnie Giles, Founder of Quantum Leadership Group, completed a study of 195 leaders in 15 countries. Participants were asked to choose the 15 most important leadership competencies from a list of 74. She grouped the top 10 competencies into five major themes, all of which have less to do with authority and more to do with our basic human needs:

    Strong ethics and sense of safety. This theme combines two of the three most highly rated attributes: high ethical and moral standards and communicating clear expectations. “A leader with high ethical standards conveys a commitment to fairness, instilling confidence that both they and their employees will honor the rules of the game. Similarly, when leaders clearly communicate their expectations, they avoid blindsiding people and ensure that everyone is on the same page,” says Giles.

    Empowers others to self-organize. Providing clear direction while allowing employees to organize their own time and work is...

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  • 4 Traits of a Strong Leader

    It’s well known that strong management is a critical part of organizational health. But exactly what type of leadership behavior is most effective?

    Using their own practical experience and searching the relevant academic literature, researchers at McKinsey & Co. came up with a comprehensive list of 20 distinct leadership traits. They surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organizations worldwide to assess how frequently certain kinds of leadership behavior are applied within their organizations. They divided the sample into organizations whose leadership performance was strong (the top quartile of leadership effectiveness as measured by McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index) and those that were weak (bottom quartile) and found that these four kinds of behavior account for 89% of leadership success:

    Solving problems effectively. The process that precedes decision making is problem solving, when information is gathered and analyzed. This is deceptively difficult to get right,...

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  • Sharing Strategies Gives TEREC Labs a Competitive Edge

    Artistic Dental Lab in Chicago has been a member of TEREC N.A. (Technical Research Consortium of North America) for only three months but CAD/CAM Manager Dan Ulaszek, CDT, feels they’ve already gotten their yearly dues’ worth and then some.

    For example, at Ulaszek’s first meeting in January, another member recommended a milling disc supplier that will save Ulaszek over $2,000 a year, and he also had an opportunity to measure his lab’s production against other labs using the same systems. “You never really know how well you’re doing until you can compare apples to apples with another lab; that information is priceless,” he says. “We learned so many little pearls of wisdom at our very first meeting and have been able to look at our lab from a different point of view because of it.”

    Founded in 1985, TEREC holds three meetings each year in different areas of the country. Each meeting features presentations from manufacturers and other industry...

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  • Necessity is the Mother of Invention: Laboratory Owners Create Their Own Lab Group

    When Gary Iocco was thinking about his long-term exit plan, he wasn’t sure he liked his options. “I didn’t have an employee interested in purchasing the lab so I thought the alternative was selling to a laboratory group,” said Iocco, Owner of Dimension Dental Design, Hastings, MN. “But I was concerned that a group would want me to change my business model, or perhaps even terminate employees or send work offshore. I just really didn’t want to do that.”

    So what did he do? He joined forces with another successful laboratory owner—Todd Mayclin, CDT, Mayclin Dental Studio, Minneapolis—to form their own laboratory group. Mayclin had already acquired two other laboratories—E.C. Chmel, Eau Claire, WI and Jackson Fairmont, Fairmont, MN—and he and Iocco saw an opportunity to pool resources, ensure the longevity of each lab, and continue to grow with additional acquisitions.

    In 2015, Iocco and Mayclin formed a multi-laboratory holding...

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  • April
  • Profit Takes Center Stage at Cal-Lab Meeting

    Given all of the talk about the commoditization of our industry, the CAL-Lab Group’s focus on maximizing profits during its 90th annual meeting in Chicago was right on point. Chaired by Jim Gorgol, CDT, the meeting attracted 774 attendees and highlighted strategies for building your bottom line, offering value to dentist-clients and increasing efficiency and productivity with digital technology.

    Keynote speaker Gordon Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD, addressed doing business in a slowly recovering economy during his presentation Paradigm Shifts in Dentistry Influencing the State of Dental Technology. “With the economy still recovering, patients hesitant to spend and benefit plans paying less, both technicians and doctors need to look at the areas that are on the rise, such as implants, digital technology and esthetic dentistry,” he said, also offering his take on new and up-and-coming trends. “Endodontics is going to be big due to aging baby boomers, and sleep dentistry...

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  • LabStar Software Releases New App

    “Technicians tell me that dentists are always texting photos to them. Rather than having to get the photo off their phones and onto a computer, they can simply upload the photo directly to the case file using our new iPhone/iPad app, LabStar Attach,” said Jeff Noles, CEO of LabStar Software.

    The app is also designed to upload lab slip images by replacing paper scanners. It works side-by-side with LabStar’s Digital Transfer feature for HIPAA-compliant file sharing. LabStar plans to add features such as barcoding, delivery management and special reporting to the app.

    For information, call 323-522-3120 or email support@labstar.com.

    Read More 1 minute read

  • More Than 110 Products Launched at LMT LAB DAY Chicago

    Digital technology product lines continue to expand and this year’s attendees got the first look at new scanners, 3D printers, milling units and software options, as well as a host of new materials.

    Read More 14 minute read

  • March
  • Magic Touch Software Version 11: A Sneak Peek

    Magic Touch Software’s Dental Lab Case and Production Management™ (DLCPM) Enterprise system offers a full set of customer relationship management tools and lab production and case management features. A cloud-based software platform, Dental Lab CPM Net™, is also available.

    With this year’s launch of Version 11, the company continues its efforts to help laboratories go paperless and streamline efficiency. Among the new features:

    The Technician Bench App allows technicians to log in to check on their work assignments, receive notifications if case elements change or add notes about the case, all in real time from a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet. This app also functions as a time clock and helps with payroll reports.

    Pickup and delivery personnel can log into My Route Manager App via their smartphone or tablet and get a complete route list for the day. The driver can receive a digital signature from the dental office and the lab is notified immediately so it...

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  • January
  • ClearChoice Management Services in Expansion Mode

    ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers, a group of 29 practices around the country, is planning to double its network and hire up to 70 implant technicians in the next several years.

    Kelly Fessel Carr

    January 19 at 9:55 am

    Read More 2 minute read

  • LMT® LAB DAY® Chicago Show Specials

    With LMT’s LAB DAY Chicago right around the corner—February 26 and 27—it’s time to finalize your plans to get the most out of our industry’s biggest, busiest show! Here’s a look at some of the special promotions, raffles and demonstrations available inside the LAB DAY Exhibit Hall.

    Read More 11 minute read

  • December 2015
  • How Do I Get My Employees to Care About Their Jobs?

    SCORE mentor George Obst discusses seven keys to cultivating employee commitment.

    Ask SCORE

    George Obst · December 8 at 2:08 pm

    Read More 2 minute read

  • October 2015
  • Henry Schein's Labnext and DDX: Powerful Partners

    Henry Schein’s Labnext is a cloud-based lab management software specifically designed for digital dentistry. The open system integrates with a variety of scanners, design software and practice management software packages and is tightly integrated with the company’s DDX (Digital Dental Exchange).

    DDX is a HIPAA-compliant, web-based digital portal that helps labs accept digital files, manage casework digitally and create new lines of communication with clients. The dentists can submit all their digital scans, X-rays and photos via DDX. The laboratory can customize the case submission form and require the dentist to enter specific information, eliminating the need for data entry in the lab and minimizing errors and follow up.Streamline WorkflowWhen a dentist submits a case, the lab receives a notification in the DDX or Labnext software or via email and logs in to start the case. “When I get a case via DDX, an email pops up on my phone and I know right away that I have a...

    Read More 2 minute read

  • ABS Evolution: Streamlining Communication and Data Access

    The latest version of Evolution Software from Atlanta Based Systems (ABS), released last month, has expanded the existing communications features, adding more automatic notification options to further facilitate and track digital communications. 

    Automatic notifications can be sent via email or pop-up windows in the software to multiple users at the lab when, for example, a case has arrived or the dentist has added a new image or note to the case file. Likewise, users can set up automatic email alerts so dentist-clients know when a case is received or shipped. 

    “I'm all about automation, and we use these emails to make sure our customers are receiving updates from us on our cases. For example, if we need a new lower impression, we send the dentist a case ‘hold’ notification and type a note regarding what we need. Automatically, an email is sent to the primary contact for the account and a record is saved in the file,” says Lee Coursey, Managing Partner,...

    Read More 2 minute read

  • CAPZilla: A Valuable Tool for Harnessing Data

    Three years ago, CAP (formerly Custom Automated Prosthetics) began developing software to make its milling center as efficient as possible. Its goal: to automate many of the steps between each process of the CAD/CAM workflow and eliminate duplicate data entry into their lab management software and again in the scanning department. 

    The result: CAPZilla, a workflow automation platform that streamlines many functions within the digital fabrication process. For example: 

    A barcode scan of the work ticket at the model and die scan station adds all essential information into all the appropriate data fields, saving time and eliminating human error at this step.

    Once scanned, a designer can scan the work ticket or select the case in the CAPZilla case overview list. The prescription and customer design preferences are displayed and then the order is opened in 3Shape Designer. After the design is complete, CAPZilla automatically moves the case to milling or prompts the designer to produce...

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  • How Do I Set and Attain Goals for My Lab?

    SCORE Mentor George Obst talks about setting and achieving the right set of goals for your laboratory to succeed.

    Ask SCORE

    George Obst · October 6 at 10:00 am

    Read More 2 minute read

  • The Minimum Wage Debate

    This article first appeared in LMT’s August 2015 edition of the LMT Insider, our monthly e-newsletter, and takes a closer look at the pros and cons of the minimum wage ordinances that have recently made national headlines.

    LMT Communications, Inc.

    October 1 at 9:26 am

    Read More 4 minute read

  • September 2015
  • LMT Interview: MicroDental Laboratories in Acquisition Mode

    In the last year, MicroDental has acquired four laboratories and is actively seeking additional laboratory members. Here, MicroDental President Len Liptak details what the company is looking for and the benefits it offers.

    Kim Molinaro

    September 15, 2015

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  • July 2015
  • Does Your Business Sing?

    Many years ago I attended a dental industry seminar on personnel nightmares, given by John Ness, Founder of PTC and the Productivity Training system. He described four types of potential troublemakers in organizations but I was particularly struck by the type he called “Harry.”

    “Harry’s,” he said, are often delightful, can-do personalities, do impeccable work and seem like perfect employees, but they have a dark side. In ways it’s quite difficult to pinpoint, they also subtly undermine the operation and/or its leadership, dragging down company morale without anyone realizing how or why. “Harry’s” are often the most damaging personnel type of all.

    I specifically remembered “Harry” because I suspected I had one on my staff. Like Ness explained, it was nearly impossible to put my finger on how “Harry” affected us and it took me more time than I wish it had to make a move.

    Last month I gave a public shout out to my...

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  • June 2015
  • First-Time and Long-Time Attendees Celebrate Silver Anniversary of LMT LAB DAY West

    Since its debut 25 years ago, LMT’s LAB DAY West has grown from a regional show with 800 attendees to the largest dental laboratory trade show on the West Coast and a truly international event. This year’s show in Garden Grove, CA, drew 1,706 laboratory owners, managers and technicians, hailing from 27 states and 10 other countries.

    Read More 6 minute read

  • HR Headaches: How to Solve Your Most Pressing Personnel Problems

    Whether you have two technicians or 20, there is perhaps no greater challenge in the laboratory than managing your staff. From morale issues to interpersonal conflicts, Lab Owner and Manager respondents to LMT’s Personnel Survey share their strategies for achieving pleasant and productive work environments.

    Read More 9 minute read

  • April 2015
  • When a Technician Leaves: How to Protect Your Lab

    In our industry, where the economic barriers to entry are relatively low, it’s all too common to hear stories about employees leaving a lab and then winning that lab’s customers, or worse, other staff members. Of course, from the lab owner’s perspective, the former employee didn’t win the customer or staff member; in his mind, he was stolen!

    Like some of you, we too have been burned and it’s happened often enough that we were compelled to change the way we deal with new hires. In California, the Department of Corporations allows companies to pursue financial damages if it’s determined that protected, confidential information has been taken from your business, so we incorporated two documents into our hiring process to legally protect us from employees pursuing our customers and staff once they leave our lab.

    Our goal in this process is not to create overly burdensome legal documents but rather to simply obtain a mutual understanding of our company’s...

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  • March 2015
  • Asking 'Why' When Things Go Wrong

    In our Ask SCORE column, George Obst, certified SCORE mentor and retired CEO and Founding Partner of Dental Services Group, draws upon his 30 years of experience to address questions about building successful and profitable laboratories.

    How can I effectively solve recurring problems? In any type of business, unresolved problems can fester, leading to poor quality and service, and may ultimately lead to the failure of the business. To effectively solve a recurring issue, you need to identify and fix its underlying cause—not just the symptom.

    To get to the root of the problem, a simple and effective technique is to ask “why” four or five times. The premise of this technique—started in the 1930s by Sakichi Toyoda, Founder of the Toyota Motor Company—is that the answers to most problems come from the people who are working within the process. Once the “why” questions are answered, corrective procedures can be put in place to ensure that the particular...

    Ask SCORE

    George Obst · March 31, 2015

    Read More 2 minute read

  • January 2015
  • Want Business Advice? Watch TV

    A few months ago, my son turned me on to two television reality shows that I feel have merit for anyone who runs a small business or aspires to: The Profit, on CNBC, showcasing the multi-talented Marcus Lemonis, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Camping World; and Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares, starring restaurateur, Chef Gordon Ramsay. Unfortunately, Ramsay retired this series at the end of 2014. Fortunately, there are 123 episodes you can watch on YouTube.

    Say what you will about reality TV; these shows are like business school by proxy.

    Without knowing any particular market, Lemonis attempts to save failing businesses—from beauty shops to sporting goods—assessing, reinventing and turning them around. For Lemonis, whose mantra is “people, product, process,” the buck stops with integrity. If the business owner(s) he comes to help is not completely transparent with him regarding the status of his business—financial and otherwise—he walks away—but...

    The Way I See It

    Judy Fishman · January 27, 2015

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  • April 2014
  • Labnext: New Management Software from Henry Schein

    Henry Schein previewed Labnext, its new cloud-based lab management software specifically designed for digital dentistry. The open system integrates with a wide variety of scanners, design software and popular practice management software packages.

    “Labnext is tightly integrated with Henry Schein’s DDX (Digital Dental Exchange). For the first time, the lab has a direct link to the doctor’s management software,” said Sandy MacDonald, Product Manager.

    Other key features include:

    Case management tools including HIPAA-compliant digital file transfer and storage.

    Powerful billing functionality that accurately captures financial transactions.

    Comprehensive reporting, including a customizable dashboard and sales and revenue analysis.

    Labnext users are included in the DDX lab list and have a DDX lab landing page.

    Visit Labnext.net for more information.

    Read More 1 minute read

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